The situation in Western Côte d’Ivoire has significantly deteriorated since the post-electoral crisis, NRC in Ivory Coast reports
Photo: Supporters of Ivory Coast's incumbent leader Laurent Gbagbo wave an Ivory Coast national flag during a rally in Abidjan December 29, 2010. Photo: REUTERS/ Thierry Gouegnon.
At the beginning of January 2011, inter-community violence between different groups broke out in the city of Duékoué in Western Côte D'Ivoire. Estimates of 34 people have been killed and 97 wounded due to the clashes. More than 200 homes have been burned and hundreds of small businesses looted or destroyed. Entire districts are deserted, emptied of their inhabitants. Although efforts have been made to appease the efforts, terrorised populations who flee Duékoué are not back yet. After the killing of one of the employee of the company in charge of the distribution of the tap water, this service is still not provided and water supply come from traditional wells and water truck. Food supply remains difficult with lower quantities available and higher prices due to the low activity of the road transporters.
NGOs, including NRC, are monitoring the humanitarian and security situation in the Duékoué zone, supporting the registration of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and the coordination of the response to the displaced. Several NGOs, including ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) and UNICEF, have distributed kits containing soap, covers, mats, jerry cans, mosquito nets, and food supplies.
However, there is lack of food, and problems related to hygiene have also been reported. ICRC teams are working hard to provide water so as to facilitate issues related to hygiene and tents have been built for displaced families. At Duékoué general hospital, dozens of injured have already been admitted. Local medical staff, helped by the ICRC and MSF (Doctors without borders), is doing its best to treat the injured.
Due to the insecurity linked to the post-electoral crisis in Côte d'Ivoire, NRC has suspended its field activities in the western and central-northern regions of Côte d'Ivoire. The current socio-political crisis has serious implementations on humanitarian programs. For instance, the NRC Côte d'Ivoire Country Director, Mr. Veit Vogel, explains that NRC educational programs have been compromised because many schools are closed. If the situation continues, all that has been achieved may be lost.
More than 28,000 Ivorian refugees have been registered in the neighbouring country Liberia and the influx to Liberia continues. Most of the refugees are women and children. Local communities in Liberia have taken on the responsibility of hosting the refugees and refugee camps are under construction.
Since the second round of the Ivorian presidential election in November 2010, Côte d'Ivoire has been plunged into a serious political crisis. The two candidates, incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo and Alassane Ouattara both claimed victory. According to UN sources, the violent clashes which occurred since November 2010 caused an estimated 210 deaths in the country.